Maternal and Child Health

Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research

Rapid transfer of knowledge from research into education and practice.

The Centre for Maternal and Child Health carries out high quality research that aims to improve the health and care of women, children, families and communities.

About the centre

The Centre for Maternal and Child Health carries out high quality research that aims to improve the health and care of women, children, families and communities.

In the Centre we recognise the close relationship between maternal and child health and the role of health services and the community in promoting population health. Our research is interdisciplinary and draws on a range of approaches to provide rigorous evidence to inform maternal and child healthcare, policy and practice.

The Centre has international partnerships with researchers in Europe, Scandinavia, South America, Africa, Australia and India. We also have links with professional, voluntary and service user organisations, and local services through which our research has informed healthcare policy and services. Working with midwifery and nursing education at City, University of London, enables rapid transfer of knowledge from research into education and practice.

The Centre comprises academic and research staff as well as doctoral students from a range of clinical, social science and health science backgrounds. Since 2008, the Centre has been engaged in current and recent projects to the value of >£10million, through research grants, consultancy and project work, and has a high profile of research outputs.


PhD students and MSc students are currently carrying out a number of research projects on topics in our research areas of models of maternity care, perinatal mental health, education and community health, and Public health, social diversity and inequalities in maternal and child health.

Examples of current research projects are on maternity care in Malawi, screening mothers and fathers for birth-related PTSD, how mothers and babies perceive emotional expressions, online therapy for perinatal psychological problems, teenage parenthood, and supporting adolescent mothers to breastfeed.

More information on postgraduate programmes can be found here:

  • Masters in Clinical Research
  • Masters in Midwifery
  • Research degrees (PhD/MPhil)
  • Health Psychology (DPsych)


Professor Susan Ayers



PhD Students

  • Maria Raisa (Ryc) Acquino
  • Laura Batinelli – ‘Supporting the implementation and scaling-up of midwifery units in Europe: how can capacity in the maternity workforce be developed?’
  • Giordana Pinheiro Da Motta
  • Florence Darling – An exploration of contextual facilitators and barriers to the implementation of evidence-based practices to support physiological labour and birth in obstetric settings: a mixed methods study.
  • Amy Delicate - 'A UK study investigating the support required by a couple’s relationships following birth trauma; implications for best practice'.
  • Jenny McLeish – ‘Understanding perinatal mental health volunteer peer support in the third sector’
  • Claudia Oblasser
  • Cassandra Yuill - 'Deciding where to give birth in East London: an ethnography'
  • Laura Osinachi Joseph – ‘An Exploration of Respectful Maternity Care Policies in Nigeria’
  • Aliyha Ghumman – ‘Improving Maternity Care for Women Who Have Undergone Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): A Participatory Co-designed Project’
  • Aaliyah Shaikh – ‘British Muslim Experiences of Pregnancy and Birth’

PhD Graduates

  • Dr Roa Altaweli - Assessing Early Sociocognitive & Language Skills in Young Saudi Children
  • Dr Agatha BulaInfluences of HIV and exclusive breastfeeding: an exploration of community-based peer support in rural Malawi
  • Dr Jackie Baxter – Listening to women after birth: their perceptions of postnatal support and the potential value of having a postnatal debriefing session with a midwife
  • Dr Ghada Ibrahim – The role of the health system in women’s utilisation of maternal health services in Sudan
  • Dr Maria Raisa (Ryc) Acquino – Studies of midwives’ and health visitors’ interprofessional collaborative relationships
  • Miriam AshfordAn examination of necessity and feasibility of web-based treatments for postpartum anxiety
  • Dr Gayle Clifford – ‘Am iz kwiin’ (I’m his queen): An exploration of mothers’ disclosure of maternal HIV to their children in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Pelin Dikmen – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Pregnancy and After Birth in Women in Turkey
  • Donna Moore – Online Resources for Perinatal Mental Illness and Stigma
  • Shawn Walker – Competence and expertise in physiological breech birth
  • Rebecca Webb – Maternal and mental health, processing of emotion and maternal sensitivity

Our Research

The Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research carries out high quality research to improve the health and care of women, children, families and communities. The Centre provides an environment for the multi-disciplinary development of ideas and research initiatives in collaboration with professional, voluntary and service user organizations. The Centre has direct links with relevant professional educational programmes at City, University of London, such as midwifery, health visiting, public health and child nursing, which enable the rapid transfer of research into education and healthcare practice.

The Centre has five main research groups:

  • Models of Maternal and Child Health Care
  • Maternal and Child Mental Health
  • Public Health, Social Diversity and Inequalities in Maternal and Child Health
  • Global Maternal and Child Health and Professional Education and Workforce.

Models of Maternal and Child Health Care

Research group lead: Professor Christine McCourt

Our research focuses on evaluating models of maternity, child and family services and care. Our work aims to improve care through rigorous studies using a range of methodologies with an emphasis on evidence-based care, appropriate uses of technology, service change and development and professional and user experience issues. This theme also has a strong inter-disciplinary thread of applying social science concepts and epidemiological approaches to clinical and organisational issues. Much of our work adopts a critical theory perspective and takes account of the complexity of healthcare interventions and contexts.

We are currently involved in a range of research projects and programmes on issues such as implementation of evidence based practice in maternity care, implementing NICE guidance on birth in different settings, factors influencing the uptake of midwifery units, trialling of home monitoring of blood pressure,  development and trial of a group model of ante- and postnatal care – Pregnancy Circles (see projects), inter-professional relationships and retention in midwifery and health visiting (COPE study – see projects) and analysis of maternity outcomes by time of day and day of the week. Areas of interest within the group include concepts of choice, risk and safety and their relationship with service delivery and change, professionalisation processes and experiences, gender and healthcare and concepts of motherhood, childhood and the family. Our work is funded by a range of sources, including the National Institute for Health Research, the European Union and the Medical Research Council.

Our findings have been published in high impact journals and presented at conferences around the world. We have established links with a range of user, professional and policy organisations and university departments at local, national and international levels. Our work has influenced the development of maternity services throughout the United Kingdom (UK) and internationally, and has influenced health policy and guidelines in this area.

Research Projects

For more information these projects please visit the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research blog.

BUMP Programme

This research programme, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, is investigating whether giving pregnant women the means to monitor their own blood pressure and urine safely from home, in addition to the usual clinic monitoring, can result in an earlier diagnosis of raised blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. We are also investigating the acceptability and practicality of this approach from women’s and professionals’ viewpoints and any impact on women’s experiences of their pregnancy.

Factors influencing the use of freestanding and alongside midwifery units in England (MU study)

The rationale of this study derives from the reported low percentage of women having their babies in midwifery units (MU) despite the good evidence that suggests for women with uncomplicated pregnancies, having a baby in a MU results in better outcomes and is cheaper in comparison to having a baby on a traditional labour ward. Therefore, this study aimed to explore factors influencing the utilisation of midwifery units (MU) in England.  This projected is now completed and findings will be published in 2019. Two articles on aspects of the findings were published in 2018.

REACH Pregnancy Programme (Pregnancy Circles)

This is one of the biggest midwifery-led randomized controlled trials, which is internationally recognised, looking at group antenatal care and whether this leads to improved outcomes on the wellbeing of mothers and babies. City, University of London is involved in implementation of the trial and is leading the process evaluation.

Two feasibility study articles and the trial protocol have been published to date:

Hunter L, Da Motta G, McCourt C, Wiseman O, Rayment J, Haora P, Wiggins M and Harden A (2018). 'It makes sense and it works': maternity care providers' perspectives on the feasibility of group antenatal care (Pregnancy Circles)Midwifery 66 (2018) 56-63

Hunter L, Da Motta G, McCourt C, Wiseman O, Rayment J, Haora P, Wiggins M and Harden A (2018). Better together: a qualitative exploration of women’s perceptions and experiences of group antenatal care. Women and Birth 32 (2019) 336–345.

Evaluation of community-level interventions to increase early initiation of antenatal care in pregnancy: protocol for the Community REACH study, a cluster randomised controlled trial with integrated process and economic evaluations. Trials 2018-03

NICE Birthplace Action

The aim of this study is to develop and evaluate a theoretically informed knowledge implementation pathway that service providers and commissioners can use as a guide to implement evidence on birthplace into NHS services which require complex organisational and professional practice change.

This study has been completed and is in the analysis stage.

The Collaborating in Pregnancy and Early years (COPE) project

The aim of this project is to enhance collaboration amongst healthcare professionals delivering care for women and their families during and after pregnancy.

Respectful care in maternity (doctoral project)

This study explored midwives’ perspectives on the practice, impact and challenges of delivering respectful maternity care in Malawi, highlighting the considerable challenges facing staff in this context. Prior to this, much of the research had focussed on women’s experiences. This work aimed to include the voice of the midwife.

Two systematic reviews were conducted to understand the broader drivers of disrespectful care during birth in sub-Saharan Africa. One explored women’s experiences; the second focussed on midwives perspectives.

Prostaglandin insert (Propess) versus trans-cervical balloon catheter for out-patient labour induction: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Feasibility (PROBIT – F)

This is a study of the feasibility and implications of conducting full-scale randomised controlled trial of an innovative method of induction of labour. Women who are booked for induction are randomised to receive either a prostaglandin pessary or a trans-cervical balloon catheter to start the induction of labour process. The aim is to compare how well these methods of labour induction work, which is the safest and least expensive method, and which is more acceptable to and favoured by women.

As part of this project, a systematic review has also been conducted of women’s experiences of induction of labour:

Coates, R, Cupples, G, Foya V, McCourt C, Scamell M. 2018. Women's experiences of induction of labour: qualitative systematic review and thematic synthesis. Midwifery, 2018-10.

Screening for Tuberculosis in Pregnancy Study (STOP)

This study is an observational feasibility study with a nested qualitative study, taking place in antenatal clinics. The aims and objectives of this study are to assess whether it is feasible and acceptable to screen an at-risk migrant population for LTBI at routine antenatal booking visits in secondary care, using opt-out IGRA testing. Secondly, to develop a definitive large scale cluster RCT to evaluate the effectiveness of acceptable interventions to maximise migrant screening for LTBI in pregnancy and to increase uptake of treatment postpartum. Pregnant migrants from high TB-incidence countries will be recruited, collecting data using interviews and focus groups of migrants and LTBI knowledge questionnaires.

Maternal and Child Mental Health

Research group lead: Professor Susan Ayers

Our research focuses on the mental health and psychological wellbeing of mothers, their partners and children. Our work has three key areas: risk and resilience factors in perinatal mental health; assessment of perinatal mental health; and innovations in the delivery of perinatal mental health care and treatment.

This multidisciplinary group comprises 8 academic and research staff and 4 doctoral students working on projects ranging from national studies of mental health assessment to international studies of perinatal mental health. Current and recent research includes perinatal mental health in women in low and middle income countries; assessment of birth trauma and post-traumatic stress; evaluations of innovative interventions for perinatal mental health such as peer support interventions and development of local services.

We have established links with NHS Trusts and user-representative organisations in the UK, as well as international links with researchers in Europe, America, and Australasia. This includes the International Network for Perinatal PTSD Research, an international research initiative which is run by members of this group.

Example Research projects

For more information on the research projects, please visit the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research blog.

WIP Study

This is a pilot randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility of the Wellbeing Plan which was created to raise awareness of perinatal mental health and facilitate conversations about emotional wellbeing between women and health professionals. This is funded by the Boots Family Trust Alliance.


This is a randomised controlled trial, involving 548 women, evaluating whether writing about stressful events during transition to motherhood has an impact on women’s postnatal mental and physical health. This is funded by the NIHR’s Research for Patient Benefit programme.

Methods of Assessing Perinatal Anxiety (MAP): the Acceptability, Effectiveness and Feasibility of Different Methods

This study aims to identify the most effective, acceptable and feasible method for assessing anxiety in women during pregnancy and after birth. This will be achieved through 3 work packages (WP) that compare 4 different tools for assessing anxiety: 2 anxiety-specific measures and 2 mental health measures (GAD-7, SAAS, CORE-10, Whooley questions) selected on the basis of research and clinical evidence that suggest they may be effective. It will be conducted in NHS services in England and Scotland.

Mums and Babies in Mind Project (MABIM)

This project aims to identify barriers to service improvement, and to inform and support effective solutions. Consequently, leading to good quality, evidence-based care pathways at the right time for all mums who need it. This project supports local leaders in four sites of England – Blackpool, Haringey, Southend and Gloucestershire, to improve the care and quality of life for mums with mental health problems during pregnancy and the first year of life, and their babies.


Caesareans performed late in labor, where the mother’s cervix is fully open and her baby’s head has entered her pelvis, can be complicated. If the baby’s head is deeply wedged in the woman’s pelvis, it can be difficult to lift it up to enable the baby to be born.  This is called an impacted fetal head. There are a number of different techniques that can be used in this situation, however it is not clear which is the best or most effective. This project is looking at whether it would be possible to do a clinical trial to test these different techniques. The research team will conduct surveys and interviews with parents, obstetricians, anesthetists and midwives to gather their views and experiences of these births.

Journey to Parenthood Study

This study aims to understand women’s psychological adaptation to pregnancy and how this may impact post-natal outcomes.

Mums on the Run

This study involves a group of Australian researchers assisting women with depressive symptoms to increase their physical and mental wellbeing with physical activity.

Public Health, Social Diversity and Inequalities in Maternal and Child Health

Research Group Lead: Dr Katherine Curtis-Tyler

Our research focuses on population health, preventive action and health care for women and children including socially and economically marginalised groups, including issues of equity of access to and quality of care. We aim to describe inequalities in maternal and child health outcomes to inform public health policies and improve services for women, children and their families. Research includes young teenage parenting, mothering and feeding children with neurodisability, maternal and child health in relation to HIV/AIDS, and the health of homeless and migrant populations, obesity in pregnancy and in children, sickle cell and female genital mutilation. We are currently working on projects ranging from locally focussed studies in East London to national studies, such as on prevalence of FGM and the timing of birth and its outcome by time of day and day of the week and international comparisons of perinatal indicators. We use a range of methodological approaches including quantitative and qualitative methods and linkage and secondary analysis of national and linked datasets.

We have well established links with Barts Health NHS Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust and public health departments in East London as well as with the Department of Health, Home Office, the Office for National Statistics and non-governmental organisations such as Maternity Action and the NCT and international networks such as ROAM (Reproductive Outcomes and Migration) and Euro-Peristat. Our work has informed the development of maternal and child healthcare services and policy in England and internationally.

  • Sub group - Global Maternal and Child Health

We have well established links with Barts Health NHS Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust and public health departments in East London as well as with the Department of Health, Home Office, the Office for National Statistics and non-governmental organisations such as Maternity Action and the NCT and international networks such as ROAM (Reproductive Outcomes and Migration) and Euro-Peristat. Our work has informed the development of maternal and child healthcare services and policy in England and internationally.

A developing strand of our work is addressing quality of MCH care globally, including in low and middle-income countries. This strand builds on a series of doctoral projects addressing subjects as diverse as HIV, female genital mutilation, health system stewardship, maternal health and respectful maternity care. Our work is now focused on the implementation of high quality and respectful care, goals that are now reflected in World Health Organisation policies and in the Sustainable Development Goals. We explore how structural factors and the organisation and models of care can influence maternal and child health and wellbeing, positively or negatively. We are focused on translation of international evidence on the value of midwife-led care in a range of contexts. Aspects of our work also bring lessons for improving maternal health and care from low-income countries to higher income settings like the UK, through community-based interventions and women’s groups – for example in models such as group care (see projects).

Recent support from the Global Challenge Research Fund has enabled us to:

  • Develop a network of partners in low- and middle-income countries with an interest in midwifery-led care and to successfully apply for further funding to continue   on the Feasibility Study on Midwifery-led care in Four Countries.
  • Carry out research on adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Ghana and The Gambia
  • Explore the role of midwives in efforts to end female genital cutting in an Ethiopian village.

We draw on critical realist approaches, post-colonial and de-colonising theories to provide a critical analysis of the forces influencing quality, safety and experience of care, including cultural safety. We also use implementation science theory to inform our thinking about how to implement change, but with a strong focus on social and structural approaches which take into account the importance of context.

Research Projects

For more information these projects please visit the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research blog.

Young People Carers and Professionals Views, Experiences and Expectations of Services to Support Young People with Sickle Cell Anaemia

This a co-design study, involving 3 groups of people – carers, healthcare professionals and young people, looking at different interventions of sickle cell anaemia. The aim is to develop an intervention to enhance and improve health care provision of sickle cell anaemia.

Health policies and sociocultural diversity: a comparative study on childbirth services

The general objective is to understand the relationship between medical teams in maternity services and people (users) with a non-western cosmology. The project will illuminate this issue through cross- cultural comparison. In the Brazilian context the focus is on the encounters of indigenous women with health services, while in the UK the focus will be on those of refugees and recent immigrants. A same question will constitute the background of these two studies: how public health policies can account for the cultural diversity in a way that provide adequate care without disrespecting other world logics? The Brazilian part of the research will essentially consist in data analysis of an almost already completed fieldwork, while the UK part will give rise to rapid ethnographic case studies, supplemented by bibliographic and documentary data.

Clinical outcomes and women’s decision making in Brazilian birth centres

This study aims to show the optimum maternal and perinatal outcomes in Midwifery Units, explore the reasons for why majority of women with uncomplicated pregnancies give birth in obstetric units when there is no clinical indication and the reasons behind choosing this environment against the evidences on places of birth.

Conducting a Cross Comparison between Countries: looking at women’s choices on place of birth.

This is an ethnographic study, exploring the complexity of social processes on decision-making related to the universe of meanings, reasons, beliefs, values and attitudes that influence women’s birthplace choice.

Feasibility Study of Midwifery-led Care in Four CountriesThis project focuses on the potential of midwifery-led care and services to address the complex,multi-faceted problems of widespread disrespect and abuse during birth, lack of evidence-based practice, and women’s reluctance to engage with facility-based birth. While we have robust evidence from high-income countries on the benefits of midwife-led care models (for women and midwives), such evidence is lacking from resource-constrained contexts. The study aims to address this gap and promote the use of midwifery units in these countries. It will explore the acceptability, feasibility and value of midwifery-led care in four partner countries - Malawi, Sudan, India and Brazil.

Rethinking Strategies for Positive New Born Screening Result Delivery (ReSPoND)

This study aims to improve the way that positive newborn screening results for conditions such as sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis are communicated to parents by health professionals. With the expansion of newborn screening in England, the importance of delivering screening results appropriately to minimize any long-term negative health and psychological consequences is vital; this project aims to develop interventions to improve such communication. It involves four phases and as a part of the project, the researchers will work with parent representatives for each screened condition covered by newborn screening who will form an advisory group to assist the research team, provide feedback on each phase of the project and monitor its progress.

Eating and Moving in Adolescent Pregnancy (EMAP)

This is a qualitative study involving interviews with healthcare professionals to understand their experiences of working with young mothers. Furthermore, with young mothers to understand their experiences in eating and moving during and after pregnancy.

Professional Education and Workforce

Research Group Lead: Ellinor Olander

Our research focuses on developing care pathways that link community and clinical services for women and children and on research into effectiveness of education to support practice. Our work aims to improve care for women and children through rigorous qualitative and quantitative evaluations with an emphasis on evaluating educational and community interventions, health promotion in the community. This work is incorporated into educational programmes preparing the next generation of professionals working with women and children. Studies have also involved development and piloting of educational approaches for health professionals, with impact evaluation.

We are currently working on projects including the Toolkit project which is producing resources to improve health visiting interventions with vulnerable families, and work to prevent long term obesity through increasing exercise by women during pregnancy. Our findings have been published in high impact journals and presented at conferences around the world. We have established links with Barts Health NHS Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust, East London Mental Health NHS Trust and a range of other health Trusts, as well as the community nursing research organisation International Collaboration for Community Health Nursing Research.

This research theme involves a strong strand of research on implementation of research evidence via professional education, capacity and organisation or models of care. Relevant projects have utilised Co-design & participatory approaches to R&D; More structurally, organisationally and context-based implementation theories and realist evaluation and reviews.

Research Projects

For more information these projects please visit the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research blog.

Evaluation of Child Nursing Programme - Student Views and Experiences on Peer Mentoring

This study will evaluate child nursing student views and experiences on peer mentoring and understanding how to train them as peer mentors, in addition to assisting them in mentoring other colleagues as well.

Developing an Educational Pack for Student Nurses based on Adult and Young Peoples’ Perspectives on Sickle Cell Anaemia

This study involves interviewing young people, carers and parents of those diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia to assist in the development of an educational pack for student nurses. This pack should include all necessary information of what a student nurse should know in regards to this illness.

Implementing evidence on birth place into policy, provision and practice in Europe

The Midwifery Units (MU) Standards were developed by a team led by Dr Rocca-Ihenacho as part of her NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellowship, thus being translational. The aim of the standards was to support the implementation of the evidence produced by our prior research on place of birth and particularly to support maternity units planning to open new MUs or improving existing ones.

The MU Standards were launched during the second MUNet Conference at City in July 2018 and we now want to develop indicators and an assessment tool in order to further develop impact. The Standards document includes 27 standards under 10 themes that capture the evidence base, translating it into more practical guidance. At present the Standards do not include indicators for users to benchmark where their service is in relation to the Standards or any improvements achieved. The number of indicators is expected to be approximately 50.

We propose to create indicators and a self-assessment tool for users to assess their own services against each of the published Standards. This can also hold future income generating opportunities for MUNet in terms of creating an accreditation system.

Seminars & Events

The Centre hosts research seminars regularly as part of the School of Health Sciences’ weekly research seminar programme. All are welcome to attend but it is essential to contact the organiser beforehand for room and catering planning and in case of any late changes or cancellation. We will aim to make presentations or podcasts available on the website where possible.

Featured Seminar

Psychological Adjustment to Pregnancy and Postnatal Outcomes

1st July, 2019

Presenters – Jessica Latack

2017-2018 Seminars

Building relationships and trust: two key features of freestanding midwifery unit care

  • Took place on 18th September, 2017
  • Presenters – Lucia Rocca-Ihenacho

Learning to birth, mastering the social practice of birth: women’s experiential learning in the birth room and why it matters

  • Took place on 4th December, 2017
  • Presenters – Jo Dagustun

Learning from fathers’ views and experiences of their own mental health during pregnancy and the first postnatal year

  • Took place on 5th February, 2018
  • Presenters – Zoe Darwin

Perceptions of pregnancy-related risk in pregnant women, midwives and obstetricians

  • Took place on 21st May, 2018
  • Presenters – Suzanne Lee

A time to be born

  • Took place on 2nd July, 2018
  • Presenters – Alison MacFarlane

2018-2019 Seminars

Previous Conferences

Positive Birth Conference

Took place on 20th July 2017.

This conference aimed to share research and experiences related to positive birth. Featuring a number of high profile speakers and guests from the area, the day shared some of the latest research from the discipline as well as service users’ experiences in order to explore the concepts of positive birth and informed choice. The event was organised by Judith Flood, a midwifery lecturer in the School of Health Sciences at City.

Midwifery Unit Network Conference (MUNet) 2018

Took place on 10th July 2018.

At the conference, Dr Lucia Rocca-Ihenacho and colleagues launched the Midwifery Unit Standards developed as part of an NIHR post-doctoral fellowship at City, University of London. The Standards have been developed over an 18 month period by a team of researchers with input from a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and mainland Europe, RCM, EMA and delegates at the 2017 ICM conference.

They celebrated Birth Centre Beacon Sites and certificates were presented by Kathryn Gutteridge, President of the Royal College of Midwives.

Leading midwives and policymakers from all four countries of the UK presented on making services more responsive to women's and babies' needs, more family-friendly, and unlocking the potential of birth centres.


  • Session 1: Midwifery care pathways and midwifery units across the UK
  • Session 2: Identifying and sharing good practice
  • Session 3: Evidence into practice

Current Conferences

Society of Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) 39th Conference 2019

5th and 6th of September 2019
City, University of London

The Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) is an international organisation bringing together research on psychological, socio-cultural and political aspects of reproduction, birth and infancy. The Society raises awareness of psychological, social and political aspects of reproductive and infant health through scientific conferences and workshops, our journal The Journal of Reproductive & Infant Psychology, and liaising with professional bodies and the public.

Our annual conferences provides the means to exchange research findings, develop research interests, develop research networks and engage with clinical and academic partners.

1st European Midwifery Unit Network Conference

4th and 5th November 2019
Barcelona, Spain

Implementing Midwifery Units in Europe: a multidisciplinary effort

Previous and current news

City pregnancy programme shortlisted for Royal College of Midwives innovation award

REACH aims to improve access to, and enhance the value and experience of antenatal care


Midwifery Unit Network

In collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives, the Midwifery Unit Network offers support to those wishing to develop midwifery units (birth centres), and to already established midwifery units. The network acts as a hub to share good practice and information resources, and be a community of practice with a shared philosophy essential to offer consistent, excellent and safe care for women and their families.

The aim of the Midwifery Unit Network is to maximise potential for a positive childbirth experience, and to enhance the physical and psychological wellbeing of childbearing women and their babies, through the promotion and support of midwifery units (birth centres).

International Network for Perinatal PTSD Research

This is a network of researchers and clinicians who are working together to reduce birth trauma and perinatal PTSD across the world.

The website provides information on the latest perinatal PTSD research, events, and an interactive blog where researchers can interact and post questions. The latest research papers on perinatal PTSD are posted monthly.

Parent Research Advisory Group

The Centre runs a Patient and Public Involvement group where parents and parents-to-be collaborate on research projects.  To date, parents have helped develop questionnaires, participant recruitment strategies and grant proposals.

Debra Salmon

Professor Debra Salmon

Research Tools

We have a range of questionnaires and research tools that are freely available to download or use on request. These include:

City Infant Faces 

City Infant Faces is a database of standardised photographs of baby faces showing different emotions. These have been categorised into positive, negative and neutral emotions and can be used in studies of the perception of infant emotions. The City Infant Faces database has been validated and is available on request for research use only (contact us).

The City Birth Trauma Scale (CityBiTS)

The CityBiTS is a questionnaire measure of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after birth. This questionnaire measures symptoms and diagnosis of PTSD according to DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. It also includes items from DSM-4 that research suggests are discriminative when diagnosing postnatal PTSD. Available on request (contact us).

The City Mental Illness Stigma Scale (CityMISS)

The CityMISS is a questionnaire measure of perceived stigma for mental illness in pregnancy and postpartum. It is available on request (contact us).

Support and Control in Birth Scale (SCIB)

The SCIB measures control during birth and perceived support from health professionals. It has 3 subscales: support from healthcare professionals, perceived internal control, and perceived external control. Validated versions are available in English, German and Turkish:
SCIB – English version
SCIB – German version
SCIB – Turkish version

Preterm Birth Experiences and Satisfaction Scale (P-BESS)

The P-BESS measures experiences and satisfaction with care during the birth of a preterm baby. It can be used with mothers and fathers. Validated versions are available to download in English. A Portuguese version is currently being validated so will be available soon.
P-BESS English version

Birth Memory and Recall Questionnaire (BirthMARQ)

The BirthMARQ measures women’s memories of birth and aspects of recall. It has 5 subscales of: (1) emotional memories, (2) centrality of memories to self, (3) coherence of memories, (4) reliving of memories and (5) recall of memories. Validated versions are available to download in English. Persian and Czech versions are currently being validated so will be available soon.